Thursday, August 18, 2005

Footnote fetish

Okay, when I get up in the morning I am going to finish the cotton paper. Writing it was not too hard, but editing it has taken up two whole days now and is growing tedious. The drudgery of getting footnotes in order is one of the reasons I would like to do more popular and less academic writing. I really like the new practice in popular histories of providing short historigraphical essays for each chapter at the end of the book rather than using footnotes. So instead of citing each individual fact, the author provides a description of the important literature on the subject of the chapter that serves to provide suggestions for further reading.

In academic writing, however, the footnote is one of the most important of all fetishes. I average a bit on the high side at four a page. But, I think that is because like fetishes in magic, footnotes are used to invoke protection from powerful evil forces, sometimes called critics. Since I do not have an academic position and for a long time in my writing career did not even have a graduate degree, the footnote was the only talisman I could use to summon protective spirits. Even then it was only partially succesful. Oh well, at least I do not have to deal with any Theory. That stuff is real black magic.

No comments: